We could see even more tits in the AHL... Vinny in the doghouse... the power of Peverley... give Plekanec & Kesler your time... Jokinen gets another chance... Jesus plays for the Leafs... watch a goalie do the moonwalk
Andrei Kostitsyn has been manning the fourth line... which is very bad news for his owners. Jacques Martin has said he was demoted due to poor play while A-Tits denies he's even struggling and blames his low numbers (four points in 14 games) on a lack of quality ice time. There are even reports that Kostitsyn could get demoted to the minors. We would say it's time to find a replacement... asap.
We're getting to see another scoring forward on the fourth line in Tampa Bay as superstar Vinny Lecavalier was demoted to a line with Drew Miller and Stephane Veilleux. Rick Tocchet has been giving Vinny a bit of tongue lashing but we're not sure this will get him out of his goal scoring funk (two goals this season) although he did score last night. He does have 11 points in 13 games so all is not lost... just ride this out. We have faith in Vinny, so should you.
Pavel Datsyuk was off to a slow start this year but that's been rectified... he's had 2+8=10 in his last six games and seems to be up to his old tricks. His shots (on pace for 160) and goals (on pace for 14) are down this year, so keep an eye on that, probably has something to do with having to play with Bertuzzi & Holmstrom for long stretches.
Did you think the Thrashers would miss Ilya Kovalchuk? If so, you must have underestimated the power of Rich Peverley. He picked up another three points last night and now has 16 points in 11 games. He also extended his point streak to eight games. Wow.
Brian Little got off the snide last night with his first goal of the year (Pev used his leg for a bank shot... but they all count, right?), maybe this will get him going as so far he's looked like a much different player than the one who dropped 31 goals last year.
Jonas Gustavsson picked up his fourth straight non-loss (3 OTL and 1 win). He stopped 30 of 32 last night and even if the Leafs don't say he's the #1 guy... he is. Btw, that OT goal Gustavsson gave up was total BS... maybe the video replay guys should actually do their job and spend more than 10 seconds looking at the replay, they might see a few things.
At the other end of the rink, Antero Niittymaki looked even sharper as he stopped 40 of 41. In five starts this year he's allowed two or less goals four times. Mike Smith has been pretty inconsistent so far this season so it wouldn't surprise us to see Antero get a few extra starts in the short term.
We've been tracking Tomas Plekanec lately and he continues to produce... a goal last night gives him 3+7=10 & plus-6 in his last 10 games and he's worthy taking a look at if your Cmen are struggling.
In a rather disturbing development, Andrew Raycroft is actually doing well... another one goal win last night (22 saves on 23 shots) and that makes it three out of four strong starts for Razor in relief of Luongo. As we mentioned the other day, you might want to go against your best judgment and pick him up if you're desperate for short-term help in net.
Three assists last night gives Ryan Kesler 1+6=7 in his last five games and he's scoring at a point-per-game pace this season. If he can keep that up, or something close to that up, then he would improve his points-per-game ratio for the sixth straight season to start his career... sweet stuff. This guy is a gamer and should not be under-estimated.
Corey Perry is another guy who's on pace to improve his numbers for the fifth straight year and he's really been heating up lately with 6+4=10 during a six game point streak (which includes a four game goal streak). His buddy, Ryan Getzlaf, is also starting to roll with 1+8=9 during a matching six game streak.
More line juggling as Calgary had Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen paired together in practice. This pairing didn't go so well at the beginning of the season but you have to like this news if you're a Jokinen owner. Things can't get much worse than the six points in 12 games he's put up so far.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
The 'saviour' returned last night as Phil Kessel played in his Leafs debut and helped his new team to an OT loss with his zero point performance (although he did have 10 shots). The Toronto media (and Tomas Kaberle) might be getting caught up in the Kessel hype but that's doesn't mean you should too. He's only 22 and he hasn't been very healthy during his short NHL career. Oh yeah, then there's the whole lack of a Savard thing to boot. Temper your expectations... especially early on.
Just a bit of a heads up as it's looking like Jason Arnott (shoulder injury) will be getting back into game action sometime this week. He's a good source of production (70+ points) when he's healthy... unfortunately that 'when' is a big one with Arnott.
Returning to action from the injured list last night was: Tyler Kennedy
What's distracting us today? A couple of items from Puck Daddy that we enjoyed... maybe you will too.
First we saw this link to Gunaxin's 20 Hockey Teams With Bizarre Names. We still can't believe this is an actual team:
Second up, is a video we've seen floating around in a few spots. This guy is awesome. Maybe the Leafs could get him to play over Toskala... he can't do any worse and at least he would entertain the fans.